Buddhist Mama's Sangha - september - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Continuing the wonderful Buddhsit mamas thread; see August's thread here.
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#2 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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Subbing again

Nicole | Mom to Ciara & Oliver | Finally living aboard & loving it!
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#3 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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Well, I've been trying to be grounded and centered as dh goes back to school, and once again I find myself getting grumpy left and right (this is a yearly event, when school starts and I am on my own all day...I know most stay at home parents have this year round, but I get help during the Summer, giving me just enough more space to keep sane). So, yesterday we remembered that we had at one point said that our "church" was the outdoors. We went off to the coast with a bunch of food and extra clothes, raingear and all, and had a lovely day. I had been sitting each morning, thinking about having space inside me for being the mom on all day on my own, and all it took was a beautiful day at the coast with my family. We are going to aim for at least two Sundays out in the woods, snow, beach, just outdoors away from projects, together. It's amazing how much more space I feel today, how much a part of my family. This is just a reminder to me that we have to get outside to feel our interconnectedness with all life, helping us appreciate each other more. Of course I'll keep sitting in the mornings when I can, and remember that we have to get out in the wilder world more often.
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#4 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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What a good recommendation - we have no beach here - but lots of lovely desert that we forget about too easily. I took the baby outside in the dark hours of the morning when she was fussing up a storm - can't remember what I ate or if it was teething, but she was very unhappy. It calmed her right down. Following the wee ones' calm seems to work!
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#5 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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I am planning to go back to my (tiny) RL sangha twice a month starting the 16! I'm so relieved! It makes a difference to sit with others.
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#6 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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#7 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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Hi everyone

I signed up to go to a Zen sangha retreat next weekend. I'm really excited to find out more about this practice!
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#8 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 05:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HotMama View Post
Well, I've been trying to be grounded and centered as dh goes back to school, and once again I find myself getting grumpy left and right (this is a yearly event, when school starts and I am on my own all day...I know most stay at home parents have this year round, but I get help during the Summer, giving me just enough more space to keep sane). So, yesterday we remembered that we had at one point said that our "church" was the outdoors. We went off to the coast with a bunch of food and extra clothes, raingear and all, and had a lovely day. I had been sitting each morning, thinking about having space inside me for being the mom on all day on my own, and all it took was a beautiful day at the coast with my family. We are going to aim for at least two Sundays out in the woods, snow, beach, just outdoors away from projects, together. It's amazing how much more space I feel today, how much a part of my family. This is just a reminder to me that we have to get outside to feel our interconnectedness with all life, helping us appreciate each other more. Of course I'll keep sitting in the mornings when I can, and remember that we have to get out in the wilder world more often.
that is so inspiring. I find too, I need to get out every day and be in nature, feel the earth under my feet, and I feel closer to DS and more inspired to be with him when I see how he responds to nature...touching the leaves, showing curiosity about things...it's really moving.

I'm working on patience...I wish I could sit with others but it's not a possibility at the moment. SOmetimes I meet up with a friend to sing mantra's which is good bc DS is very welcome there too. Meditation being silent is unfortunately not that child friendly

3_opihi, the zen retreat sounds lovely...i'm also interested in zen, have read a book or two but never really got into the practice. I've been enjoying my meditation the last two days, am trying to meditate twice a day where possible even if for just 15 minutes, like when baby is sleeping. I felt much happier and more patient all day and Im sure its a result of that. I'm doing the Tonglen meditation once a week or so, I let it slide lately but back into it now. It's amazingly powerful. Anyone else practice that? ALso want to get back to Mettabhavana practice too.
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#9 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 07:51 PM
 
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I joined a small Zen sangha and now that summer is winding down I need to dedicate to go at least twice a month. I find it refreshing to sit with others as well.
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#10 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 07:52 PM
 
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#11 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 08:11 PM
 
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I love reading and learning on these threads. I have a question, if you all do not mind. Can someone explain mantras - their use, which ones, singing them ... just the basics. Also, does anyone have some information on prayer from a Buddhist point of view? Thank you much.

 Me + dh = heartbeat.gif ds (7/01), ds (11/03), ds (6/06)
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#12 of 61 Old 09-01-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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#13 of 61 Old 09-03-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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#14 of 61 Old 09-03-2008, 09:15 PM
 
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Ok -- I'm new here but whats it mean when people post subbing??
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#15 of 61 Old 09-03-2008, 10:10 PM
 
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Ok -- I'm new here but whats it mean when people post subbing??
Yamilla - it just means that we are subscribing to this thread. When you post on a thread, you are automatically subscribed to it and can see if there are new posts there by click on Quick Links up there in the top right corner of the page - it drops down and you can see near the bottom is "Subscribed Threads" - it's an easy way to keep track of threads you are interested in.

Chessa , mama to Silas T (6/06) , wife to Chad . Welcome August Emerson! 2/8/10
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#16 of 61 Old 09-04-2008, 07:47 AM
 
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thanks, keeta, then i am subbing too. glad i found you here!

married to my best friend sam sahm to beatrice (04/07) and mourning lucia, born still 12/22/08
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#17 of 61 Old 09-04-2008, 03:45 PM
 
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just figured out i had to change my profile to sub, so i am trying to sub again.

married to my best friend sam sahm to beatrice (04/07) and mourning lucia, born still 12/22/08
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#18 of 61 Old 09-04-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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Subbing - Would like to engage in a thoughtful conversation with all of you wise mamas a little later on. Off to yoga for the moment..

: single mom extraordinaire, keeper of eew since 02/09
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#19 of 61 Old 09-04-2008, 07:15 PM
 
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It's nice to find this thread!

I'm curious as to how and when you introduce your children to Buddhism. We have a little Buddhist devotional area with two statues (we both bought one on the same day) and some plants. Ds (2) likes to bow to the Buddhas and give them things. Once he was carrying one around and bonked his head on the sink, and then he bonked the Buddha's head on the sink to share the pain, I guess. We also have a book of Buddhist stories for kids, but he's too young for it. Our Zen Center is working on a sort of Sunday school type thing, but it's not up and running yet, and besides our mile-a-minute kid is still probably too young. Sorry if you've covered this stuff in the older threads. We don't want to raise him as Buddhist, but just to encourage him to be a part of what we're doing with it.

My husband and I are both kind of newly Buddhist -- he has been able to really get into meditation and stuff more than I have since we have a toddler and I'm, well, strung thin. It would be so good for me, but I haven't had a chance to really learn how yet. I used to do transcendental meditation and then hypnobirthing when I was pregnant, but I think zen meditation is quite different.
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#20 of 61 Old 09-04-2008, 10:15 PM
 
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waving hi and subbing. achy eyeballs and a chest cold, so soon off to bed.
i have started student teaching 4th grade--talk about mindfulness practice! my cheeks ache from smiling. (had those muscles so lacked from exercise? i hope not!) needless to say i'm in a stage where seated meditation would be "falling over and snoring" meditation.

a bit of Shantideva in my mind: "For as long as space endures, and for as long as living beings remain, until then may i too abide to dispel the misery of the world."

mama to one amazing daughter born 1/2004
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#21 of 61 Old 09-05-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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Hello. My daughter has been visiting a "feeling doctor" (i.e. therapist) for some help with issues related to attachment and adoption. Yesterday, the therapist recommended to us that our daughter be encouraged to express her anger by hitting a pillow and kicking.

Of course, this is not how we handle anger in our house nor how we have been teaching our daughter. We try to practice Buddhist teachings of being present with our anger, and taking care of our anger, without watering the seeds of anger. (For those of you familiar with Thich Nhat Hanh's excellent teachings on this subject, that's what we're trying to do.)

Of course, my daughter is only four years old. We talk with her about taking care of her difficult feelings, including anger, like caring for a crying baby; she really is able to understand that, and also the concept of watering positive seeds and not watering negative ones. She has a "flower spot" she can choose to go to to calm down, she can practice "being like a mountain" and I just recently introduced the teaching to her about giving your cows a big pasture. We try to give her space to be angry, and acknowledge her angry feelings, while offering her the option of assistance in calming down. While we sometimes lose our tempers with her, we try to model the same approaches ourselves.

But now, this therapist makes me doubt my approach a bit! I have encouraged my daughter to physical express her feelings by jumping up and down, or running, but I really don't want her rehearsing and strengthening hitting and kicking. So...other Buddhist mommies out there...how do you help your children deal skillfully with their anger, especially when they're still preschool age? Any teachings that have been particularly helpful?
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#22 of 61 Old 09-05-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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I'm quite new to Buddhist teachings, but one thought is that I notice my toddler ds needs to hit things. It's not out of violence or anger, though, it's a tactile thing, and a way of releasing energy. Like he can be banging away on something inappropriate like the dog, and I redirect him to go bang on the couch and he's happy to oblidge.

Just a thought. I see what you mean, and I don't know where the line is between anger and energy, or if there is one. Does the jumping and running and stuff help?
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#23 of 61 Old 09-05-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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One other thought that strikes me -- what if going through a stage of hitting and kicking a pillow is something she needs to go through on her own path to mindfulness?
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#24 of 61 Old 09-08-2008, 12:02 AM
 
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Hello. My daughter has been visiting a "feeling doctor" (i.e. therapist) for some help with issues related to attachment and adoption. Yesterday, the therapist recommended to us that our daughter be encouraged to express her anger by hitting a pillow and kicking. Any teachings that have been particularly helpful?
Hi Diane B,

don't know if you remember me, I am a student at Zen Mountain Monastery, in NY, and also mommy to Lulu (four) and now Gingy (aged 2).

interesting question.

I'll give you my quick (late at night, I should be in bed) answer and try to reflect on it more.

I think with anger we ask that Lulu refrain from hitting and yelling. We try to sit down with her and let her tell us "all about it" but to not use screaming as part of that. I tell her I can't help her if my ears are hurting.

So our main way is to really sit down and discuss something and reflect the feelings / thoughts back to her. Be a witness essentially, while drawing a limit around hitting/screaming.

I actively do want to hear why she's angry, I'm curious about it, really. And I think that that gets conveyed and she feels heard. Most of the time that works.

Oh, and, have you noticed... ninety percent of kids' problems can be solved by gently picking them up and holding them up close to your heart???

But I have sometimes wondered if, by not accepting loud screaming as part of anger, that I am shutting her down... but still.... no, I'd have to say that personally, I wouldn't be into a therapy at this age, where self-control is being created, they would be encouraged to make a lot of pathways to shouting and hitting. Perhaps it's OK with adults, who are suffused with too much self0control, but with a child??

BUT, this is all theoretical, and I would say you'd have to see what works well for your family and for your daughter.

I'll try to give some more thought on it.

Liz

Kids. I got two of 'em.
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#25 of 61 Old 09-08-2008, 10:04 AM
 
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For me, hitting/pushing etc. in anger (even therapeutic) is "practicing" that anger. It hasn't worked for me, and Thich Nhat Hanh sums this up well in his teachings. The holding and snuggling, while talking about it are what we do too.

And...what do you do with righteous anger? I struggle with this all the time, and interestingly, had a childhood of various homes, little attachment. I don't think this is an issue for only the little ones, maybe more of a making the teachings understandable to younger folks. I don't like to think of it as a learning to control the anger, but let go of the anger, allow myself to enjoy the other emotions I feel (which seem to get buried under the power of anger...again, another reason not to practice it). I guess I'm relating way too much to your question, but I hope some part of my answer gives a bit of light.
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#26 of 61 Old 09-08-2008, 10:22 AM
 
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Hey, Catskillsmama! I was wondering if you might be on this thread at some point! Good to "see" you.

I just want to quickly clarify that it's not talk therapy - it's a very open ended play therapy to try to give my daughter more opportunities to express her internal world so we adults can be more understanding and supportive.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments. Please share more!
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#27 of 61 Old 09-08-2008, 11:49 AM
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since baby hawk was born last week, i feel that every moment is present moment. there's really nothing else except hawk. it's the most wild thing.

i mean, i get it at a different level, that whole "while doing dishes, do dishes" and mindfulness meditation. there's no other way to be with a baby--even while he sleeps and i'm on the comptuer metatexting. LOL
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#28 of 61 Old 09-08-2008, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just want to quickly clarify that it's not talk therapy - it's a very open ended play therapy to try to give my daughter more opportunities to express her internal world so we adults can be more understanding and supportive.
Hi Diane, have you looked into creative arts therapies at all?

I'm a music therapist, right now I work with children in hospital and have also done a lot of work with adopted/foster children.

I try to take a mindfulness aproach to my work. When I'm working with a child's strong emotions I see it as my job to help them be present with that emotion, and to acknowledge and bear witness to it, but in a creative and healthy manner. While hitting a pillow may offer a physical release, I think that physical need can be met in other ways, and that it really depends how the therapist is working with that afterwards. I see a big difference between pure release/catharsis, and transforming/shifting the energy of an emotion.

In comparison in music therapy when a child is hitting a drum, they get the same physical release at the same time as engaging in a musical relationship and expressing their emotion in a creative medium. Almost always the expression then starts to shift and to reveal underlying issues or feelings, or at least to transform the stuckness of the emotion. Similarly in art therapy a child may work with anger by pounding and shaping clay, or giving the emotion a physical represntation somehow.

Hopefully your daughter's therapist is also making use of similar techniques, and that the expression doesn't stay stuck in pounding a pillow, etc.
At home I think you should use techniques that feel right to you and resonate with your own practices of relating to anger.

One technique I've found extremely helpful is from the waldorf model of telling mirror stories, in which you use the metaphor of nature imagery (eg anger may be represented in a volcano); through hearing these stories a child gets to experience their feelings as natural and healthy, as connected to the rest of life rather than isolating, but also in nature these things are always transforming and bringing change; ie the calm after a storm, etc, which helps give them the sense of shifting their own energy.
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#29 of 61 Old 09-08-2008, 05:31 PM
 
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I am not a huge fan of informal anger therapy as I find it can tend to ground people in their suffering. Formal anger therapy OTOH can be very therapeutic if done correctly. For me the key was acceptance of DS's feelings and lack of attachment. To be able to simply be with his anger and seeming hostility helped me to stop being so freaked out by it, and removed much of its power as well.This is not to say we didn't look for solutions, just that coming from a place of acceptance helped me to free my attention up so that my energy could be better directed to staying present and mindful. I found solutions often naturally arose when I stopped struggling and internal-dialoguing and just watched. You might also want to check out Byron Katie www.byronkatie.com who does a process called 'the work' wich is awesome and can be done with kids. Her assertion is that it is not situations that make us suffer, but our beliefs about those situations. There are lots of videos on youtube as well, including some of her working with kids. Good luck!
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#30 of 61 Old 09-08-2008, 08:55 PM
 
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since baby hawk was born last week, i feel that every moment is present moment. there's really nothing else except hawk. it's the most wild thing. LOL
Congratulations zoebird.... yah, doesn't having a child bring it all home?! When I had my first, I felt like I was in a constant Dai-sesshin (great mind opening retreat). Never ending. Eternal. Total. As you say... it's can't be otherwise.


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Hey, Catskillsmama! I was wondering if you might be on this thread at some point! Good to "see" you.
Hi Diane!

Yes, I scanned the long, long, LONG thread for your posts and didn't have time to post much myself. It's been awhile but I always remembered you (the mix of Katagiri and Thich Nat Hahn zen ... and your daughter who is a little older than our oldest). And when I found your posts I loved reading them.

I'll do a general reintroduction here and catch you and everybody up on our lives and practice.

So good to "see" you, too.

Maybe one day we'll meet in the real world.

Liz

Kids. I got two of 'em.
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